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I’m not a fan of bugs, by which I mean that I would have nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with them that doesn’t involve the underside of my shoe or a folded newspaper or so much wadded-up toilet paper or tissue that I can be sure not to feel the crunch and squish as I press down. But here we are in August, the one season of the year in which the creepy crawlies, spiders in particular, make their presence clearly known. Starting in the forgotten corners, the under sides of things they threaten to take over. Gaining confidence they stretch their webs across frequently used doorways and drop on me unbidden as I walk or write in the park. Oh, how they must delight in watching the strange freaked-out dance their webs evoke every. single. time.
I’m not a fan, but my children are and for months now there’s been an endless parade of crickets and caterpillars, moths and butterflies, rollup bugs and ants, ladybugs too, in and (mostly) out of my house. And oh, the cicadas. At first the empty, crusty, crunchy shells seemed a novelty, a prize to be found and collected hanging on the bark of a tree or laying on the sidewalk as we passed. It was cute to see their excitement as they hung them on their clothes like a rare beastly broach. But now, oh God, we cannot pass without picking them up, collecting, not just the shells, but the bugs too, the shiny silvery bodies making a stark contrast to the dull brown discarded casings.
These, the casings, my children pile onto the back of the jogging stroller, behind the sunshade where they inevitably get lost in the folds as I heave it into the back of the van. And then, days later when I get the stroller out and unfold it with a bit of force to get it to snap into place, those same bugs and their shells come flying, crackling out at me, evoking again the same freak-out dance that arises intuitively, a dance I’m certain can be traced back through the lines of evolution to the very first people who stumbled across the very first spider’s web.
It’s August and the bugs are invading my every waking moment including the books that we read, since the children’s librarian so nicely (sarcasm here) directed my children to the place where the bug books reside. So now I sit, morning noon and night, holding down my breakfast or lunch or dinner as I read about the mating and birthing and eating habits of the insect world all the while staring at incredible, nightmare-inducing close-ups of every body part I didn’t want to know about.
Deep sigh. Here’s the thing – they’re beginning to speak to me too. And I’m starting to listen, starting to pull up my chair to watch as they perform their own dance of living and birthing and dying all the while joining their song to the on-going song of creation.